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Eastern gamagrass, Fakahatchee grass
Tripsacum dactyloides

Copyright by: Roger L. Hammer

General Landscape Uses: Accent grass. Large groundcover in wet to moist areas.

Availability: Widely cultivated. Available in Boynton Beach at Sustaincape Florida (561-245-5305), Lake Worth at  Indian Trails Native Nursery (561-641-9488) and at  Amelia's SmartyPlants (561-540-6296).

Description: Large herbaceous grass.

Dimensions: Typically 3-4 feet in height; to 6 feet when in flower. About as broad as tall.

Growth Rate: Moderate.

Range: Widespread in eastern and central North America south to Miami-Dade County and the Monroe County mainland; West Indies, Mexico, Central America and South America.

Plant Map Map of select IRC data from peninsular Florida.

 Map of suggested ZIP codes from South Florida north to southern Brevard, Osceola, Polk, and Pasco counties.

 Map of ZIP codes with habitat recommendations from the Monroe County Keys north to Martin and Charlotte counties.

Habitats: Marshes, swamps and wet pinelands.

Soils: Moist to wet, moderately well-drained to poorly-drained sandy, organic, or limestone soils, with humusy top layer.

Nutritional Requirements: Moderate; can grow in nutrient poor soils, but needs some organic content to thrive.

Salt Water Tolerance: Low; does not tolerate flooding by salt or brackish water.

Salt Wind Tolerance: Low; salt wind may burn the leaves.

Drought Tolerance: Moderate to low; requires moist to wet soils, but tolerant of short periods of drought once established.

Light Requirements: Full sun to light shade.

Flower Color: Anthers orange, stigma purple.

Flower Characteristics: Semi-showy inflorescence.

Flowering Season: Spring-fall.

Fruit: Inconspicuous caryopsis.

Wildlife and Ecology: Larval host plant for clouded skipper (Lerema accius) and three-spotted skipper (Cymaenes tripunctus) butterflies. Provides seeds and insects for birds.

Horticultural Notes: Can be grown from seed and division.

References: Nelson 2003

Comments: See a 2019 post on the Treasure Coast Natives blog on Fakahatchee Grass (Eastern Gama Grass) and it’s relation to corn.

Copyright by: Roger L. Hammer

Copyright by: Shirley Denton

Copyright by: Shirley Denton

Copyright by: Shirley Denton

Copyright by: Shirley Denton

Copyright by: Keith A. Bradley

Other data on Tripsacum dactyloides available from:

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